By the time you read these words, I will be long gone. When this goes up on xoJane, I will be standing on a windswept beach, probably trying to dislodge a used condom from the bottom of my shoe (let’s not be coy, it will be a British beach) and thinking DEEP THOUGHTS.
Thoughts like: Was this very low calorie diet (VLCD) worth it? Will I regain all the weight? Was it all really commercially-endorsed anorexia? Have I, as some people have warned, ruined my metabolism, libido, and ability to distinguish Logan Marshall-Green from Tom Hardy for life? Should I try oysters? Because I’m sort of curious, and there’s an oyster shack RIGHT THERE.
On the other hand, I haven’t eaten anything for weeks, and I’ve heard that oysters kind of taste like shark snot.
But hey, you didn’t come here to listen to me rambling on about fish phlegm and existentialism, like some salty old Dadaist fisherman. You came here for my EXTREME DIETRY, so here are the goods:
In my final week on the diet I lose a whopping 4lbs (1.8kg), taking me to a total loss of 23lbs (10.4kg) in eleven weeks.
Just to put that into perspective, altogether I’ve lost the body mass equivalent of one Flemish Giant domestic rabbit:
Or two Maine Coon cats:
Or, in case you’re reading this over Christmas, that’s:
• Three baby Jesuses (seasonal!)
• Four Macbook pros (I’d like one for Christmas, ergo totally relevant)
• Five gold rings (assuming each ring weighs 2kg).
Additionally, here are some random subheadings:
I no longer have to stop halfway up the hill to my house; gym instructors don’t look terrified when I enquire about their classes; I walk everywhere now because a) the crippling pains in my back and knees are gone, and b) I never get a seat on the Tube because no one thinks I’m pregnant anymore. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
I began this diet while mired deep in a cycle of failure. I’d held my own through two years of massive personal upheaval, and while I knew my post-smoking cessation weight gain was causing me constant physical pain, I just didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to deal with it. I’d attack it with intensive diet and exercise, suffer a setback, eat too much, gain more weight, and loathe myself. I just didn’t feel as though I could trust myself anymore.
VLCDs are hard, but SIMPLE: if you follow the rules, you WILL lose weight, and quickly. I’ve found it motivating, and – because I haven’t approached it as a quick-fix, and I’ve taken the time to re-evaluate my relationship with food – it’s also been a route back to trusting myself. LASER MOTORCYCLE KANGAROO ROBOTS. Sorry, I just had to type something aggressive to balance out the most mimsying emo paragraph I’ve ever written.
My point is, yes I fell off the wagon a few times, and yes – my weekly losses were relatively modest, but I DID IT. I DID THAT. I, constantly failing Robyn, managed to lose two of those massive fucking Maine Coon cats. Which actually sounds pretty irresponsible out of context, but you know what I mean.
What have I learned?
• That I’m tiny, and that I need to eat relatively tinily.
• Conversely, to accept that I like FOOD. And CARBS. I mean, I’m part Italian. So I’m never going to be rake-thin, but can stay in my healthy BMI if I watch my portions and exercise like a banshee. A HENCH BANSHEE.
• Mumble mumble quitelikegoingtothegym mumble.
• That if I cut out refined sugar for a while, I don’t crave it anymore.
• That thirst can masquerade as hunger. This is a fucking REVELATION. If you’re hungry, drink a glass of water and wait ten minutes. If you’re still hungry, eat. If not, you may have been thirsty.
• That food is for fuel and pleasure. It’s not an anaesthetic, and it’s not a rod to beat myself with. Ugh, LASER MOTORCYCLE KANGAROO ROBOTS ON PCP.
• Just because I crave something doesn’t mean I have to eat it. YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, WHIMSY
• To savour food on the first mouthful, not just the fifth. Recently, as an experiment, I rescued an unwanted orange cream languishing in a chocolate selection tray, and let it slooooowly melt on my tongue. Jesus fucking Christ, it was as though I’d never tasted chocolate before. It was a series of taste-detonations across the surface of my tongue. An ORANGE CREAM, people.
• Probably don’t let me watch your Maine Coon cat.
MMM YES, ADMIT IT ROBYN, THESE SORTS OF DIETS ARE ACTUALLY BULLSHIT. YOU SHOULD HAVE TRIED HARDER TO LOSE ALL THE WEIGHT THROUGH DIET AND EXERCISE. I LOST LIKE A SQUAJILLION POUNDS THAT WAY AND I AM SMUGLY JUDGING YOU RIGHT NOW.
Oh, fuck off.
And what does a 23lb (10.4kg) loss look like on me? Well, this:
Over the last two and a half months I’ve lost 13.73% of my total body mass and dropped two dress sizes. And your comments of support and advice – have helped so much – thank you all.
If you’re thinking of doing a VLCD, make sure you talk to your doctor, and do plenty of research first. Also, my diary in its entirety may be of some help, providing that you enjoy SWEARING and CAPS LOCK:
• It’s happening to me: I’m doing an extreme diet
• Week 3: Featuring characters from The Lion King!
• Week 6: Of plateauing, pathos and pashminas
• Week 10: Fear the flab and do it anyway
What next? Eat an oyster (or not), slowly reintroduce normal food, begin a strength and cardio programme at the gym, embarrass myself in a series of Pilates, spin and tribal bellydance classes, learn and use a bunch of healthy recipes, maybe lose another 7lbs, stop talking about my FUCKING DIET, record my monthly adventures here, and just get on with being a human person.
So! You’ve lost 23lbs in 11 weeks through a very low calorie diet! How do you feel? Me? I feel like a bitch-ass motherfucker, motherfucker: